Brother Yusef is a self-taught musician and has been described as a master solo guitarist and a uniquely passionate vocalist. His performances are raw, honest, and as real as the genre has ever aspired to be. Honed over thirty years, he calls his multifaceted style fattback blues for its a rich mix of Delta, Chicago, and Texas blues alongside a hard-driving Louisiana stomp. Fattback Blues combines "traditional" fingerpicking and slide guitar playing with the contemporary feel of urban blues, rock, and funk. He uses his right-hand thumb to beat out a percussive bass-line and shuffle while the index finger plays rhythm and lead lines, creating a full band sound with a solo guitar.
Brother Yusef was born in Bakersfield, California, in June 1963. Four years later, he moved with his family to South Central Los Angeles, California, before settling in Altadena, California, in 1969.
Brother Yusef began playing the guitar at the age of 19. His music interest first peaked as a young child while attending Holiness Church services with his grandparents in Bakersfield. The loud music of the church both scared and excited him. The atmosphere he remembers as being a lively and open celebration. Drums, electric guitars, singing, and dancing filled every space of the little church. Another musical inspiration came when Yusef witnessed the Jackson 5 performing on television. His focus was not so much a young Michael Jackson singing and dancing, but the two older brothers, Tito and Jermaine, and the “cool” visuals of them playing the electric guitar and electric bass guitar. His dreams of being a musician born.
With his close friend and fellow budding musician, Yusef started experimenting with a variety of musical styles. He studied blues, jazz, reggae, funk, and rock before deciding the blues was to be his calling.
Brother Yusef approaches the blues from a musical, spiritual and social context. He is quoted as saying, “for African Americans, blues is survival, healing, and freedom.”
Performing at various blues and music festivals, social dance events, Brother Yusef has gained worldwide recognition. He takes his audience on a musical journey, from a backwoods jook joint, to the fiery emotions of the sanctified church.
The Fattback Sound
Brother Yusef’s music is exuberant, bouncing with a highly rhythmic beat and slippery with a wildly flailing slide; this Bakersfield born, dreadlocked bluesman chugs and stomps the blues with impassioned devotion. By combining "traditional" finger picking and slide guitar with the contemporary feel of urban blues, Brother Yusef gives the past and present equal rights on stage. With verve and spark, his renditions of the old classic blues are delivered with a funky, deep-roots style that will make anyone sit up and listen.
A stand-out talent
If you love the grit of grinding passionate blues you’ll love Brother Yusef. Absolutely a stand-out talent by any measure… If you stand still while listening to his performance, check into a hospital— you’ve flat lined!
promo provided courtesy of
EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, Calgary Alberta, Canada
Live at Downtown Disney
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Downtown Disney Resort, Anaheim California •2001- 2016
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point California 2003 & 2005
House of Blues, Anaheim. Opening act for James Brown 2004
2006 Belgium Rhythm n Blues Festival, Peer Belgium 2006
Swift Current Stir Crazy Blues Festival Canada 2011
Saskatoon Blues Festival, Canada 2011
Epcore Centre for the Performing Arts, Canada 2011
Big Apple Blues, Balboa & Lindy Exchange, New York City 2011 & 2013
Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland Oregon 2011, 2017 & 2019
Emerald City Blues Festival, Seattle Washington 2011 & 2019
Holy City Blues Exchange, Charleston South Carolina 2011 & 2019
Thunder Bay Blues Festival, Thunder Bay Ontario - 2015
Korea Blues Camp 2015 Ga pyung, South Korea
Israel Feelin Blues Dance Festival 2016 - Tel Aviv, Israel
Busan Swing Festival 2016 - Busan, South Korea
2017 Mo Better Blues Dance Festival - Nashville TN.
Rockin & Swingin Dance Festival 2017- Seoul Korea
The Legendary Rhythem and Blues Cruise 2018 & 2019